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CAT 2009: Prep tips for the last 7 days

By Neelesh Kossambi
November 24, 2009 10:24 IST
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The countdown has begun. You are now only a few days away from CAT 2009. The countless hours spent poring over notes and taking tests to prepare for this test are finally about to fructify. There are bound to be butterflies in your stomach as exam day approaches. However, you should not let your anxiety get in the way of your final preparation phase. It is important to not lose focus and stay motivated so that you can deliver on the final day.

The week before CAT, you are advised to make optimum use of your time to rest and revise. Channel your energies into some extracurricular activities so that you are not bogged down with CAT apprehensions. This article will guide you through the preparation process in the week before CAT.

~ Firstly, you need to accept that it isn't possible to redo whatever studying has been done in the earlier months. Don't try to make up for lost time by trying to learn new concepts.

~ Don't take more than two or three tests in the week. It is important that you analyse the tests that you have taken. Do this in the following manner:

1. Look at the areas where you have excelled. These are your strengths which you must capitalise on.

2. Check the questions that you were not able to solve. If it is due to a silly mistake or a certain trick did not click at the time, then make note of it and try to solve it in an easier manner.

3. Look at the questions that you were not able to solve due to conceptual clarity. Note them down as weaknesses. Don't try to start afresh with basics.

~ Solving additional papers in the last week is not necessary. It is up to you if you prefer going through sample CAT papers instead. While going through these papers, identify the questions that you were unable to solve previously, (due to time constraints or difficulty levels), and look at the ones that you managed to solve. See if you can use other methods to solve the same questions in less time. Don't study basic concepts again but you may go through formulas and tables that you are well aware of. You may also have a look at flashcards (if any) that you have prepared. Limit your study time to six-eight hours a day. An overdose of revision will create stress. Panic and anxiety will affect your health and thus your ability to give the desired results. Avoid studying for long durations without adequate breaks.

Lakshmi Singh, COO, IMS Learning Resources, advises, "The CAT being computer-based this time, candidates must work towards improving their computer proficiency. They must get familiar with the usage of keyboard and mouse."

~ Go through the guide that the IIMs have provided for a better understanding of the test as well as the test centre. 

~ Keep your mind active by solving puzzles like Sudoku or reading books / newspaper articles. Reading motivation articles, self-help books can also help you stay calm.

~ Avoid reading numerous articles that talk about strategies for the test, or exam plan, etc. They will only increase your confusion. Stick to the plan that best suits you. Yoga, meditation and breathing exercises will help you stay calm.

~ This is the time when you have to stay fit both physically and mentally. Hence you must eat healthy food and avoid junk food from outside eateries. These tips though obvious are often overlooked by students.

Sleep at least six to eight hours every day. Practice staying awake and active at the CAT time slot chosen by you. For example, if your test slot is 3-5 pm and you have a tendency to take a nap during that time, this one week would be ideal for you to change that habit.

You can play sports or engage in other hobbies. Listening to music will also act as a stress reliever. Relax your eyes, don't spend long hours in front of the television set or computer.

~ Last but not the least, visit the exam centre once before the actual CAT exam. Since you need to be at the exam centre two hours prior to the test, travel on the same day of the week as the exam day and figure out the traffic along the route and effective time taken. This will help save time on exam day.

Don't underestimate yourself or set very high expectations. Trust your preparation and work towards giving the CAT exam your best shot.

Kamlesh Sajnani, MD, IMS Learning Resources, concludes: "CAT is just one of the steps to success. There are many more milestones that you need to conquer in life. Stay confident."

The author is national manager, Media Marketing, IMS Learning Resources. He can be reached at 

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Neelesh Kossambi